Over 50? Midlife Is The PERFECT Time To Start A Franchise

Despite all you may have heard about the barely-out-of-high-school techie crowd in Silicon Valley, the folks most likely to start a franchise are in midlife. You read it right! That’s according to a recent study by the Kauffman Foundation and Legal Zoom, which found that, in 2013, 35% of all new businesses were started by people over the age of 50. In fact, people over 50 started businesses at a higher rate than those between the ages of 20 and 34. That’s not really surprising, considering the wealth of experience these seasoned members of the workforce bring to the table, not to mention access to capital and networks. So if you’re one of those folks stagnating in an unsatisfying job or if you’ve been downgraded or downsized by a company in decline, you might want to consider one of the simplest ways to start a new business, a franchise. Franchises have a multitude of advantages over independent businesses, including a network of support, training, and a proven system intended to help people achieve success even though they may have little experience in the field. Opportunities in franchising abound —75 industries are represented, and a franchise coach can help get you started with your research. The fastest growing sectors franchising are business to business

and consumer services. These areas are perfectly suited to the executive and managerial backgrounds of most of today’s new franchisees – much more so than fast food or retail that often come to mind when people think about franchises.

6 Easy Steps To Start Exploring Your Franchising Options:

As you assess where you want to start the next stage of your career, you’ll want to conduct a thorough process of due diligence:

1. Assess Your Skills

No matter your background, you’ve developed an array of expertise, such as solving customer problems, managing employees and systems, selling yourself, and maybe selling a product or service. Figure out how your skills might transfer to a franchise that captures your interest.

2. Read Up On Franchising

Check out the International Franchise Association’s informative website for types of franchises and articles on franchising. Make lists of franchises that best match your skills, experience, and interest.

3. Peruse A Few Franchise Disclosure Documents

Franchisors are required by federal law to disclose a great deal of helpful information in these documents, including the backgrounds of their executives, litigation history, as well as a full list of costs associated with purchasing a franchise. You also receive a full list of franchisees (more on this below). Franchisors must write these documents in common English, not legalese, so they’re quite readable.

4. Interview Franchisees

Franchisees are your best source of information. You can call these owners, because the franchise companies provide their contact information in the Franchise Disclosure Document. They may be busy, but many franchisees are happy to talk to folks who may be walking the same path they recently traveled. So make an appointment and respect their time. Ask about the franchisor’s system —what’s working and what’s not, and find out if, knowing what they

know now, they would purchase this franchise again.

5. Talk To Franchisors

As you start to narrow your options, call up some franchisors to learn more about their operation. Get a feel for the corporate culture and how well you might fit in.

6. Contact A Franchise Coach

A coach can help you navigate your way to franchises that are reputable and have great track records. They have worked with dozens of clients over many years and add another layer of experience to help you make the best selection. And their services generally come free of charge. So take heart, your middle years may be your most productive and profitable yet. Start your exploration of franchise ownership today!

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-5489.

9 Key Questions To Ask Franchisors

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9 Key Questions To Ask Franchisors

Dan Citrenbaum August 31, 2015

The stories are legion about people who’ve breathed new life into their careers with a franchise or even a slew of franchises. But there are some pretty notable misses in the franchise business, as well. Just think Quizno’s or Curves, two franchise systems that, for different reasons, have faltered: Quizno’s, the once promising sandwich shop, is now in bankruptcy; and Curves, fitness centers for women of a certain size, is a shadow of its former self. While it’s true that nothing in life is guaranteed, you can do quite a bit to minimize your risk by thoroughly checking into a franchisor’s track record. The federal government requires all franchisors to disclose much useful information in its Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), and then, of course, the franchisees can tell you firsthand about their experiences with the company. Critical to your background research is your conversation with the franchisor. Most franchisors will have a standard protocol for potential new franchisees that include in-person and telephone meetings with selected executives as well as lots of reading materials to introduce you to the franchisor’s system. You need to use this opportunity to zero in on the issues that are critical to helping a new franchisee succeed.


9 Key Questions To Ask Franchisors

1. How much will it cost to purchase the franchise?

These numbers will be broken down and listed in the FDD, but you want to hear what the franchisor has to say on the subject. If they try to sugarcoat the costs in any way that doesn’t match your background research, alarm bells should sound in your brain. You always want the facts delivered to you straight. After all, one of the worst positions you can find yourself in is to have run out of capital before your business becomes profitable.

2. What is the background of the business and company executives?

While this information, including previous litigation, will be listed in Items 1-3 of the FDD, you want to get a sense of who these people are. Follow your gut. If you feel someone isn’t being genuine or truthful with you, stay away.

3. How old and established is the franchise?

Ask executives about how the company has evolved and, ideally, improved over the years. If it’s a fairly new franchise, what are the company’s plans for growth, and how will they help their franchisees to succeed?

4. What is the success rate of franchisees?

They may give you a rosy window into franchisee success, but you can ask good questions if you’ve first read about any claims the company may have made in the FDD. You should also be more knowledgeable if you’ve already interviewed franchisees for whom you can find contact information in the FDD.

5. What type of training program does the franchisor offer?

How much ongoing support will you get? Are particular executives assigned to your region? Will you always be able to get someone on the phone for a consultation?

6. What exactly is involved with the system?

You need to determine if this this a system you are capable of following. Also is the system sufficient to help you achieve success. Sometimes, newer franchises may still be working out the kinks.

7. If things go badly for a new franchisee, what does the franchisor do to help?

Is there a triage system of some kind? Good franchisors should have adequate support to help you during the start-up phase, when you may hit a few stumbling blocks.

8. How competitive is the market?

It might seem like some business sectors are flooded with competitors. Maybe that means the field is too crowded. That might, however, be a sign of strong, growing demand. You will want to know how the franchisor feels about local competition, and what plans they have for helping you to succeed in a competitive market.

9. What activities does the owner spend their time on?

Just because McDonalds sells hamburgers does not mean that the owner spends their days flipping burgers. When you first consider a franchise, the role of the owner might also be surprising. You will want to learn what tasks take the owner’s time. Then, you can assess if you have the right skills and interest to excel in those areas At the end of the research, after you have talked to several franchisors and narrowed down your list to one, you will visit the franchisor on a Franchise Discovery Day. Check out whether the infrastructure is actually in place. Is there a training center? Are the executives interested in you? Can you establish a good rapport with them? And only then will you be ready to proceed. Of course, before you sign on any dotted line, you will want advice from objective experts, such as a good franchise attorney.

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-5489.

Are You Cut Out for a Franchise? Take the Quiz!

Buying a franchise is one of the quickest, safest ways to start your own business, but a franchise is not for everyone, particularly if you’re the type of person who likes to blaze your own trail.

For starters, to be successful with a franchise — that is to maximize your potential earnings — you must be prepared to follow the franchisor’s system, the time-tested method the company has for virtually every aspect of its operations, including staffing protocols, an advertising campaign and store build-out plans.

After working with dozens of franchisees over the years, I still see new franchisees decide they can cut corners, for example, by declining to hire enough people to cover the day-to-day responsibilities of meeting the needs of customers.

The owner may decide to save money by doing some of the work himself, for example, cleaning houses or caring for seniors. As a result the owner has less time to build the business, creating a steady and growing clientele to generate earnings. While that owner may save some upfront costs, he or she loses long-term earnings potential.

So how do you know if you are a good candidate for a franchise? Answer eight easy questions:

  1. Are you prepared to thoroughly research the business?

Selecting a franchise may be your first most important step, and the process requires solid research, from reading background materials to putting shoe leather to pavement and visiting franchisees.

  1. Are you prepared to work hard?

Just because the business comes with a system doesn’t mean you won’t have a learning curve. Of course, once you have good employees in place and operations running smoothly, many franchise operations will allow you to take an afternoon for golf or to attend a child’s track meet. Many franchisees set a realistic goal to work 30 to 35 hours per week within three to five years of starting their business.

  1. Can you call for assistance when needed?

A good franchisor wants to help you through the start-up phase, so to take full advantage of what you’re paying for, you need to be willing to ask for guidance. A good franchisor will likely offer many good suggestions, possibly a long to-do list that will require time to implement.

  1. Do you have enough capital to set up the business to operate as designed?

Before you buy the franchise, your research should have told you how long it will take to operate in the black, and the Franchise Disclosure Document will tell you your upfront expenses. Getting to profitability varies by location and franchisee. You will need to be work hard and pay operating expenses for some time before earnings begin.

  1. Can you accept paying the franchisor royalties and other specified fees?

These fees are the price you pay for a proven operating system, built-in research and development, a fully vetted list of suppliers, as well as an advertising campaign and ongoing support and training.

  1. Will you accept structure in your business?

If you would rather create your own approach to a unique business that reflects your particular vision for a product line or service, you don’t want a franchise.

  1. Can you accept advice from authority?

When you buy into a franchise system, you are part of a team, and the franchisor needs each of its franchisees to present a consistent image to the buying public. No reinventing the system.

  1. And, most importantly, can you trust the system to work?

If the answer is no, then don’t buy the franchise.

Ideally, you will answer yes to each of these questions. If you answered no to more than two, then you might want to consider an independent business. I also suggest you consult a franchise coach, who is in the business to help you make the best decision to ensure success.

After all, what you want most is to have a business you enjoy in which you can excel and which will also earn a tidy profit.

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true?

Get your free evaluation today!

Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a franchise coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484)278-4589.

Franchise Discovery Day: To Clinch A Deal?

Discovery Day presents a make-or-break moment for many would-be franchisees. For Megan Yu, a visit to the franchise parent company of Signarama, United Franchise Group, in West Palm Beach, Fla., helped seal her decision. Of course, by this time, she and her partner, Andy Yu, her father, had already spent almost six months researching businesses they might open in Ann Arbor, Mich. Casting a wide net at first, they looked at all options, including purchasing an independent business. They chose a franchise because they liked all the support and training offered as part of the deal. “For me it was the one-on-one interactions with the owners that was huge,” Megan said. Meeting other franchisees who shared their own experiences and offered a ready support network raised Megan’s comfort level with this new business. During a carefully choreographed Discovery Day, Megan was greeted by her “host” at her hotel and taken to company headquarters, where she met with current franchisees, technology, and financial support staff. She toured a “brand new, state-of-the-art training facility,” all of which convinced Megan this was the business for her. Franchise Discovery Day will either reel you in with a display of stellar services and support staff or you’ll discover something about the franchisor that sends you to the exit with a feeling of doubt. For example, you may find the CEO has recently changed and you’re not sure about the transition. Or perhaps, you’ll discover you don’t like the support staff. For Megan and Andy, the advantage of a franchise, with all the systems in place to help them through the start-up phase, eventually won out over other options. Megan, 29, who had been working as a manager of a retail store, gave her month’s notice soon after the Franchise Discovery Day. “It boils down to having a world-recognized name and, of course, corporate support,” said Andy Yu, 56, a retired engineer. “We don’t want to get into all these miscellaneous details that will consume all our time and effort.” So, instead of figuring out how to negotiate the best lease agreement, select office furnishings, stationery, and myriad other necessities of their new operation, Yu said, they could spend their time on activities, like sales and marketing, that have more direct impact on the bottom line. They hope to open their new sign-making business by late September. So, how do you prepare? Said Yu: “Do your homework.” Before you even arrive for Franchise Discovery Day, you should:

Do A Comparison Study

Look at a multitude of business types that might suit your experience, interests, and lifestyle.

Read The Franchise Disclosure Document

Federal law requires franchise companies to disclose much useful data, from a list of all their franchises to detailed financial information. Read through this carefully.

Research The Market

You should be confident this business type will work in your location.

Talk To Franchisees

Interview as many as possible to hear about the franchise company’s support systems and how helpful these are. Then, when you get to Franchise Discovery Day, you’re armed with highly educated questions that will enable you to learn if this really is the team you want behind your new business.

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-5489.

Franchise Discovery Day: A Franchiser’s POV

When it comes to choosing a franchise, it’s not just your perspective that matters. The franchise company has a clear point of view, as well: They want to see if you can follow their system. While you go through your research, winnowing down your list of possibilities to one, the culmination of the process brings you to Franchise Discovery Day, where you get an up-close immersion with the franchise company —and you find you’re ready to sign on the dotted line or not. The franchiser has a strong interest in making a good match, as well, since franchising ties you together for the long haul. Both of you have a vested interest in the franchise succeeding —you to make a good living and the franchise company to protect its brand name and maximize its own profitability. While we always recommend in-depth research of your own, once you start to focus on a single business, you’ll find the franchiser has a specific process to prepare you, as well. As Troy Thomas, regional vice president mid-Atlantic region of United Franchise Group (UFG) said, Discovery Day “allows the executives with the franchisor a chance to meet and spend a little time with the franchisees to see if it’s a good fit.” And, on the flip side, he said, Discovery Day “allows the franchisee to gain a complete picture of the support network and the value that is typically unseen by a typical franchisee in the field.” The West Palm Beach, Fla.-based firm owns a range of franchises, including Signarama, SuperGreen Solutions and EmbroidMe. By the time Franchise Discovery Day arrives, Thomas said, a UFG executive will have already had meetings with the prospective franchisee, preferably in person, and taken that person through a “four step process.” If it’s not likely to be a good fit, he said, people discover this as they go through the steps. “If you can’t follow the steps, you probably won’t be a good candidate for following the franchise system,” he added. Explained Thomas: “To be successful, it’s not about reinventing the wheel, but rather following the model.” “The best franchisees come from a corporate background so they understand structure, but they have an entrepreneurial spirit and they want to control their own destiny,” he said. “Of course, entrepreneurial types can also be successful franchisees.” Bottom line: It’s about the system. Thomas said they see hundreds of people a year at a Discovery Day, and everyone who comes through gets individual attention. By the time they arrive, they tend to be very interested. “And the vast majority purchase with us,” he added. As a result of this process, Thomas said most of their franchisees are successful. Thomas, who himself as a career-changer, having spent years in newspaper publishing, believes the advantage of a franchise is that it allows people completely new to a business to hit the ground running. “With an independent business, you have to find all your own equipment, vendors, location, hire employees, learn how it all works, figure out your pricing, and that’s before you even sell a thing —a lot of expense and time,” Thomas said. “A good franchise can take you through that a lot faster and give a head start.” So, while you have your checklist, it’s good to remember so does a franchisor —reassurance that the company is working to create the best possible conditions for success.

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-5489